A full service team to deal with regulators and courts -
and to help you to use the law for strategic
Our Competition & Regulatory team comprises lawyers across our European network, all with experience in acting for clients dealing with competition or regulatory authority investigations and litigation, and compliance issues.
Competition and regulatory issues have never been so important to businesses. Compliance is a challenge, but essential to avoid fines, damages actions and reputational damage. But competition and regulatory law is also often a strategic tool to gain competitive advantage through challenging competitors or regulators on business-critical issues.
We act for clients in a variety of industries, including technology businesses of all kinds, broadcasters, life sciences companies, telecommunications operators, sports governing bodies, professional and industry associations and government departments.
As well as a commitment to technical excellence, we have significant experience in dealing with the European Commission, national competition authorities and sector regulators. We are recognised as one of the leading competition litigation practices.
As a result, we know how the authorities and the courts approach issues from both a procedural and policy perspective, and we have the expertise to advise on how to structure transactions and to argue cases to maximum effect in securing your commercial objectives.
Competition & Regulatory
A full service team to deal with regulators and courts -
and to help you to use the law for strategic
International law firm Olswang announced the re-election of David Stewart as Chief Executive Officer to lead the firm for the next three financial years.
08 April 2013
International law firm Olswang has been recognised by leading legal directory Legal 500 in its 2013 EMEA edition. The firm has been ranked in eight practice areas this year and received an additional nine practice area recommendations, including seven in France.
03 April 2013
International law firm Olswang is proud to welcome Nick Crosbie, Christoph Enaux, Matthew Phillips to the partnership. The partners are drawn from a variety of sectors and international markets. Their appointments will take effect on 1 May 2013.
21 March 2013
International technology, media and telecoms law firm Olswang has boosted its offering in the Asian market with the arrival of consultant Andrew Halper, who will draw on his extensive Chinese experience to further develop the firm's offering in the area.
11 January 2013
Telecoms regulatory team secure significant win for Cable&Wireless Worldwide, Virgin Media and others in the Court of Appeal
Both in terms of the value of the case to the clients (c.£42 million) and the precedents set for bringing regulatory disputes against BT, the win in the Court of Appeal today is highly significant.
27 July 2012
06 June 2012
05 April 2012
- Acted for Attheraces Limited in Attheraces Limited v the British Horseracing Board  EWCA Civ 38, the leading case on excessive pricing, which went to the Court of Appeal.
- Acted for Satellite Information Services Limited in Bookmakers Afternoon Greyhound Services Ltd & Ors v Amalgamated Racing Ltd and Ors  EWCA Civ 750, a case considering the legality of exclusive licences, which again went to the Court of Appeal.
- Acted for a consortium of fixed network operators in the appeal to the CAT of Ofcom's 2007 determinations on mobile termination rates, which is the leading case on Ofcom's dispute resolution powers (T-Mobile (UK) Limited v Ofcom (Termination Rate Disputes)  CAT 12).
- Acted for a leading computer games platform in relation to multinational competition litigation concerning licensing of games accessories.
- Acted for one of the interveners in appeals by BT to the CAT of Ofcom's jurisdiction to resolve disputes on BT's alleged overcharging for Ethernet and other services.
- Acted for a leading directory enquiry services provider on its appeal to the CAT of an Ofcom determination on BT's charges for access to directory information. The case went to the Court of Appeal and was the subject of a reference to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling.
- Acting for a consortium of fixed network operators in BT's appeal to the CAT and to the Court of Appeal of Ofcom's determination on BT's charges for Partial Private Circuits.
- Advising a group of fixed network operators on their appeal to the CAT of Ofcom's determination in connection with Carrier Pre-Selection services.
- Acted for Royal Mail Group Limited and Post Office Limited defending a series of judicial review challenges to its programme to close up to 2.500 post offices across its national network. We worked beside Post Office Limited from Day 1 to design the scope of the closure programme to try to avoid business disruption. The programme was completed without any successful legal challenge.
- Acting for Tottenham Hotspur plc in its challenge to the decision of the Olympic Park Legacy Company to award the long-term lease of the Olympic Stadium to a rival bid consortium. Also acting for Tottenham in a concurrent judicial review challenge on state aid grounds against the rival bid's funding proposal.
Mergers, Acquisitions and Joint Ventures
- Advising the owners of Northern Racing in relation to the Office of Fair Trading investigation of their acquisition of Arena Leisure.
- Advising Emirates Group on the EU Merger Regulation clearance of its acquisition of Alpha Flight Group Limited.
- Advising Cineworld on the OFT's merger investigation into its acquisition of the lease to operate a cinema at The O2 Arena,London.
- Advising Shine on merger control aspects of its disposal to News Corporation.
- Advising All3Media on the European Commission and the Austrian Competition Authority investigations of a joint venture with the BBC.
- Advising a UK mobile network operator on a joint venture with a major retailer to jointly sell mobile phones and airtime.
- Advising a global telecoms provider on competition and exclusivity issues in connection with providing outsourced off-network international voice and data carrier services for a national incumbent operator.
Dominance and Abusive Conduct
- Advising a complainant to the OFT in relation to alleged abuse of a dominant position in an ancillary services market in the automotive sector.
- Advising a major US fixed and mobile network operator in the OFT's investigation into an alleged collective boycott by a trade association and in connection with the subsequent appeal to the CAT of the OFT's decision to close the case on administrative priority grounds.
Agreements and licensing
- Advising a Japanese pharmaceutical company on the EU competition law aspects of a research and development collaboration.
- Advising a US pharmaceutical company on the EU competition law aspects of a settlement of litigation in the USA which arose from a long-standing research and development collaboration.
- Advising a UK mobile network operator on the application of the Technology Transfer Block Exemption Regulation to a software, patents and know-how licence for technology used to stream content and facilitate internet access services for mobile phones.
Market and Sector Investigations
- Advice to Posterscope, an Aegis Group company, in relation to the OFT's market study in the outdoor advertising sector.
- Advising Channel Four Television Corporation on a European Commission investigation of the possible grant of State aid for digital switchover costs.
- Advising the British Horseracing Authority on State aid aspects of the horseracing levy.
Managing Partner, Belgium
+32 2 641 1271
+32 2 641 1273
+49 30 700 171-176
Olswang team is 'client focused and possesses the commercial acumen to secure a competitive advantage'. It has specialisms in the technology and telecoms sectors, with a focus on contentious matters. Active clients include Cineworld, and ITV. It acted for Microsoft in litigation over unauthorised Xbox 360 accessories. Howard Cartlidge is a 'straight-talking, personable lawyer who does not baffle with unnecessary details, meaning clients are quickly able to get to grips with the crux of the issue'.
– Legal 500 UK 2012
The UK Government has announced reforms to the UK competition regime that aim to promote more litigation in competition cases, particularly by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Government has tried to steer a path between making it easier for businesses to bring cases and avoiding what it sees as the excesses of a"US-style litigation culture". The reforms are likely to result in more competition risk for businesses engaged in potentially anti-competitive activities - and more opportunities for their victims to seek redress.
31 January 2013
The European Commission recently published a Communication on spectrum sharing urging a close working partnership between the Commission and Member States to develop a harmonised system for identifying, developing and monitoring shared access to radio spectrum in light of the exponential growth in wireless data traffic, as Ginny O'Flinn, a Senior Associate at Olswang LLP, goes on to explain.
30 October 2012
On 31 August 2012, the Belgian Competition Council issued a conditional clearance decision in a merger case involving Swissport Handling and Flightcare, two providers of cargo ground handling services.
16 October 2012
Competition & Regulatory
The UK Government has modified slightly its proposed reform of the criminal cartel offence. However, the new definition of the offence still raises serious concerns that a wide range of commercial activities will potentially be criminalised. The Government should back down from this reform altogether.
11 October 2012
In its decision of 30 July 2012, the Belgian Competition Council imposed a fine of 245,530 Euros on French company Presstalis for abuse of dominant position by applying its so-called "BSC" rebate scheme between 2000 and 2004. The scheme granted rebates to French publishers that allocated their exports to Belgium, Switzerland and Canada exclusively to Presstalis. The Council found that the scheme was loyalty-inducing and restricted competition on the market of exports of French newspapers and magazines on the one hand, and the Belgian distribution market on the other.
19 September 2012
As the sluggish global economic outlook continues, access to funding by way of traditional bank loans and overdrafts remains difficult. This article looks at the emerging phenomenon of crowdfunding, and whether this may in future provide the answer for small corporates looking to bridge the funding gap.
28 August 2012
The UK competition authorities have formally charged a major hotel group and two online travel agents with breaking competition (antitrust) law by fixing prices at which rooms are sold online. The case potentially has major implications for all hotel groups and online retailers of accommodation.
02 August 2012
Network neutrality, the principle against restrictions to internet networks, is a much debated issue in Europe. BEREC, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, responsible for monitoring developments and issuing guidance on net neutrality, recently published a number of draft publications analysing the current situation in Europe. Ginny O'Flinn, a Senior Associate at Olswang, discusses the draft publications released by BEREC, the first net neutrality law and a key case on the subject.
20 July 2012
The Court System
Yesterday’s decision of the US Supreme Court in NFIB et al v Sebelius regarding the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”, aka Obamacare), which has convulsed the American political scene, usefully illustrates the important differences between the US Court and its UK equivalent.
29 June 2012
Newspaper and magazine distributor AMP condemned by the Brussels Court of Appeal for abuse of dominant position.
AMP condemned by the Brussels Court of Appeal for abuse of dominant position.
19 June 2012
There is a large consensus that the current Belgian Competition Act, which dates from 2006, needs some revision, at the very least on a number of procedural issues. This is, in the first instance, the result of the Court of Justice's VEBIC judgement, but there have also been a few decisions from the Competition Council and the Court of Appeal highlighting some shortfalls.
08 June 2012
In an interim order issued on 22 May 2012, the President of the Competition Council ordered a warehouse keeper storing certified Robusta coffee to maintain a minimum amount of loading (at least 500 ton on average) per working day. This is to be measured at the end of each month.
08 June 2012
Patent Settlement Agreements – How will the US experience impact on the European Commission's decision-making?
With Statements of Objections imminent in several antitrust cases opened by the European Commission following its 2008/2009 pharmaceutical sector inquiry, in this article we examine the experience of the US antitrust regulators in dealing with "pay for delay" settlement agreements. In particular, we look at the recent case of FTC v Watson Pharmaceuticals in which the FTC failed to convince the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit of the per se illegality of such agreements.
14 May 2012
The UK's Coalition Government is currently working on changes to UK gambling policy, which in recent years has fostered the most open gambling market in the EU.
03 May 2012
Financial Services Regulatory
The Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive ("AIFMD" or the Directive) creates a European-wide framework for regulating managers of ‘Alternative Investment Funds’ ("AIF") (referred to in the Directive as ‘Alternative Investment Fund Managers’ ("AIFM")) and imposes restrictions on “marketing” AIF to investors in the EU.
23 April 2012